Quite often, expenses and costs are perceived as a barrier to legal representation and recovery. Admittedly, it is true that participation in the modern day legal system can be costly. However, when it comes to workers’ compensation in New Jersey, the law provides mechanisms that try to ensure an injured employee can afford the costs of filing a claim. Therefore, this post will answer two questions: what costs are associated with a workers’ compensation claim and what mechanisms help alleviate these costs?
Compensation for Your Lawyer
New Jersey limits the amount and process for payment of a workers’ compensation lawyer. This provides safeguards for an injured employee and also ensures the path to recovering workers’ compensation benefits is available to all workers. First, workers’ compensation lawyers in New Jersey are paid on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay your lawyer until a settlement is obtained from the insurance company.
Second, the legal fees are based upon the amount of settlement you receive, as a percentage. Under the law, a workers’ compensation lawyer cannot receive more than 20% of a settlement. Of this amount, the employer is expected to cover 60% and the injured employee 40%. Therefore, if you receive $10,000 as settlement, your lawyer can collect up to $2,000, of which you will pay $800.
Keep in mind, that in order for your lawyer to be paid, you must be awarded a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim by the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation, which is part of the Department of Labor.
Costs Associated with Legal Representation
Many of the legal costs associated with a workers’ compensation case are dependent on how long it takes to reach a settlement of your claim and the level of dispute by your employer or an insurance company. For instance, if you are able to reach a settlement with the insurance company soon after filing, that may be your only cost, but if you need a workers’ compensation hearing, there will be many more additional costs involved.
First, a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey must be filed with the State’s Division of Workers’ Compensation. There are two processes available to an injured worker, either filing a Claim Petition or filing an Application for an Informal Hearing. Both filings will require the payment of a filing fee.
Another cost that employees may need to pay is for record requests and subpoenas. These documents and evidence are required to show what medical costs you incurred as a result of your injury and providing a basis for your recovery. In New Jersey, these subpoenas cost $1.00 per page for the first 100 pages, and then $0.25 per page after that. The maximum cost for a single record is $200.00.
There could be other fees required for your lawyer to successfully and competently represent your case. Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in New Jersey understand that an injured employee is not in the best position to cover additional costs of a claim, and will try to mitigate these expenses. However, it might be necessary to charge for travel, postage, or similar expenses.
Deciding to File Your Claim
If you decide to file either type of workers’ compensation claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation, you will likely want legal representation to help you through the process.
Albert J Talone Esq. has been providing representation when filing a Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing, and throughout this process remains upfront, straightforward, and transparent regarding costs and likely amount of settlement for your workers’ compensation claim. Contact The Office of Albert J. Talone at (856)-234-4023 to learn more about the compensation you are due under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.